West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, considered one of the most moderate “swing senators” in a red district, will back Biden for President.
TheHill reports West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the most conservative Democrats in the upper chamber, is poised to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden in the general election.
“I will, absolutely,” Manchin told Politico in a Thursday interview.
Manchin began thinking about endorsing Biden since the South Carolina primary in March, where Biden took over 48 percent of the vote in what was then a crowded primary.
Voters in West Virginia share similar concerns as those in South Carolina, where the energy sector carries the economy. Manchin didn’t endorse Obama’s campaign, and in 2016 he nearly took back his endorsement of former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton after she called for an end to coal mining. He was also one of a slew of Democratic senators that was vocally uncomfortable about the prospect of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) winning the nomination, according to the news outlet.
“I’m just trying to make sure that we’re working through a plan,” he said. “I’ve been working and talking to different people. We’re definitely getting there. You just can’t leave people behind that did the heavy lifting and that’s worked hard, whether it’s producing coal or producing energy for this country. They just need an opportunity to live their lives and have that opportunity. And I think Joe Biden understands that.”
Manchin’s endorsement comes after Biden became the presumptive nominee following Sanders’s exit from the race. The West Virginia primary is scheduled for June, and though Sanders is no longer in the race, he is still hoping to gather enough delegates to garner some leverage and push Biden toward a more progressive platform at the Democratic National Convention.
Sanders as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a fellow progressive and former 2020 rival, endorsed Biden earlier this week. Former President Barack Obama, a Democratic juggernaut, also endorsed his former vice president this week.